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    Time to avoid sequester over, harsh budget cuts coming

    12:18 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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    WASHINGTON (CBS) -- The chance to avoid a series of harsh, automatic spending cuts is all but gone. The President met this morning with Democrats and Republicans at the White House but Congressional leaders left without a deal.

    President Obama sat down with top congressional leaders at the White House, but as expected they did nothing to stop the automatic spending cuts from kicking in.

    Before the meeting even started, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "....there will be no last minute, back-room deal and absolutely no agreement to increase taxes."

    Lawmakers had a year and a half to come up with a budget compromise to avoid the automatic cuts.

    When a last ditch effort failed in the Senate Thursday, Democrats and Republicans blamed each other. Sen. Harry Reid says, "They've done nothing." While Sen. Lindsey Graham says, "To me this is pathetic leadership from the commander in chief."

    Then they left town for a long weekend.

    The cuts go into effect when the president signs the order. The law gives him until midnight to do so; then dozens of federal agencies will start scaling back.

    About three percent of the budget, or $85 billion, needs to be slashed this year. Almost half of the cuts will be at the Pentagon.

    General Ray Odierno says the Army alone will have to stop training 80 percent of its troops. He says, "We might have delay deploying people because they're not trained properly."

    The cuts will take time to implement and the full effect may not be seen for weeks. But the Obama administration says expect fewer police on the street, teacher layoffs, and flight delays.

    Many of the cuts at Defense will include civilians who work for the military; the Navy alone plans to furlough 186,000 civilian employees.

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